It turns out there’s not much you can do about the passing years – but I digress (already).
It has struck me that I was scribbling on sport in provincial newspapers long before most of the current Roscommon players were born.
After an enjoyable journalistic apprenticeship in Longford, I was off to Cavan in the late 1980s. The GAA club scene in Longford is great…very competitive, with all involved proud and passionate. And yet nothing really prepared me for Cavan. Looking back, by the late 1980s they were only a little over thirty years on from the end of the county’s golden era! Cavan won All-Ireland titles in the 1930s, ‘40s and in ’52, with numerous Ulster titles too. The Cavan people I was encountering in a GAA-mad county in the 1980s had either lived through great GAA successes or been raised on stories of an era when they ‘were kings’.
As I have written here before, I loved covering GAA matches in Cavan. The supporters are extremely passionate, indeed obsessed with the game. They crave success, a return to something like their glorious past. Any weekend there’s GAA action, I still look out for the Cavan results.
In recent years, Roscommon have had an upperhand on Cavan, a record of dominance that makes me a little nervous about this weekend! My ‘logic’ is simple: surely our winning run against the Breffni County has to end at some point? And yet there are grounds for optimism about Roscommon’s prospects in Cavan when the National Football League resumes this weekend. Although Cavan’s form line is quite good (in that they’ve been very competitive in all three games to date), Roscommon’s is considerably better. It is extremely encouraging that Roscommon have run Mayo to a point, defeated Monaghan, and drawn with Tyrone, the latter a game which Anthony Cunningham’s team arguably should have won. Roscommon taking three league points from a possible four in home games against Monaghan and Tyrone is really impressive.
Now, round four, and two great GAA counties, backed by great passionate fans, meet in a true GAA hallowed ground on Sunday. This date with Cavan is certainly a potential ‘banana skin’ for Roscommon, but there is no doubt that it is a game we will have been targeting since the fixtures became known. With another fully committed showing, Roscommon are well capable of a win, but it is likely to require a performance of the standard we have seen at the Hyde in recent weeks. Here’s hoping!